Professional art experts were required to evaluate sets of ten to twenty slides of artworks created by young artists. The design of the experiment enabled comparisons between aesthetic quality judgements based on averaged scores of four to six experts and consensual judgements reached after discussions of the works within groups composed of the same four to six judges. It was demonstrated that the latter judgements often reflected the original evaluation of only one of the group members. Based on empirical considerations of both reliability and validity of judgements it was concluded that decisions about grants to young artists should be based on mean judgements by independent experts instead of on judgements reached during discussions between experts. © 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.